A novena prayed in anticipation of the feast day of Blessed Basile Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, led up to a weekend of prayer and festivities at the International Shrine dedicated in his honor at Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix Church in Le Mans, France.
Under the leadership of Fr. Paul-Elie Cadet, C.S.C., Pastor and Rector of the Shrine, and Fr. Joseph Gonsalves, C.S.C., Assistant Pastor and Rector, devotees of Blessed Moreau gathered at the Solitude of Our Savior, the motherhouse of the Marianites of Holy Cross on January 18 to pray the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows. The prayer was followed by an sharing among the participants about Blessed Moreau.
On Sunday, January 19, Fr. Paul Valentin, C.S.C., a member of the Congregation's Vicariate of France, celebrated the 10:30 Mass with other Holy Cross and diocesan priests concelebrating. Representing the local bishop was Fr. Paul-Antoine Drouin, Vicar General of the Diocese of Le Mans. Music was provided by the parish children’s choir and the “Orchestre Sainte-Croix.”
Children from Sainte-Anne Sainte-Croix School were introduced to the life and holiness of Blessed Moreau and participated in the offertory procession.
In addition, students from Saint-Michel de Saint-Mandé in Paris were also present. The students, hosted by families of the parishioners, spent the entire weekend in Le Mans.
After Mass, a special luncheon was hosted by the parish at Maison Saint-Julian, the diocesan pastoral center.
On January 20, the anniversary of Blessed Basile’s death, the weekend quietly culminated with Morning Prayer and Mass at the Founder’s tomb inside of Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix Church.
Located at the Congregation's Conventual Church, Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix, the International Shrine of Blessed Basile Moreau was inaugurated on September 21, 2014, under the direction of then Superior General Fr. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C. Its mission is to promote the life and spiritual legacy of the Congregation's founder, both in the local Church and in the wider Universal Church.